#BusinessInCrisis Strategic Brand Preservation
Research Team @Assert
Although investing in Employer Branding during a crisis might seem like a low-priority activity, some global, as well as local studies have shown that the current period is crucial for establishing the company brand. Namely, research done by Randstad indicates that after the SARS state of emergency in 2003, there was a decrease in the positive brand perception of top companies by 6-9% as a result of inadequate reaction of the employers. Research that was done by Assert was conducted on a sample of all types of enterprises in Serbia during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research shows that 25% of employees who were dissatisfied with their treatment in the workplace (especially when it comes to termination of contract) had an active role in creating negative publicity for their company.
The negative perception of the employer accomplishes multiple negative impacts: low interest of talents to work for the company, as well as low interest of potential clients to cooperate, which can consequently threaten achieving strategic goals and profitability. Therefore, investment in employer brand preservation is one of the key strategic moves to make during a crisis.
Many companies strive to maintain liquidity, and therefore are currently going through the process of downsizing and/or salary reduction, making their workers deal with uncertainty and fear of having their basic existential needs unmet. According to the report of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, more than 15,000 people were left without employment during the first quarter of 2020. In such a situation, it is crucial to provide employees with support and have transparent and honest communication to ensure they do not feel left alone in the state of crisis. The results of aforementioned research by Assert indicate that over 70% of employees who were satisfied with how they were treated, do not hesitate to voluntarily spread positive feedback for their company – by means of social media and personal recommendations. Moreover, support and transparent communication by their line managers have been seen as the most important factor in employee satisfaction. Your workers will not forget the way they were treated when they needed your support. They will be reluctant to return to work when things go back to normal if they were not given authentic empathy and if you have not done your best to help them overcome the negative impacts of the crisis or temporary unemployment. On top of that, there is a high probability that even those employees who stayed in the company during the crisis would leave as soon as they are presented with new job opportunities on the market.
Therefore, it is imperative for the company management and HR representatives to become even more aware of their own role and significance and take all key measures related to human resources in strengthening employer brand.
One thing that can make a substantial contribution to outlining a plan for improving employer brand is monitoring the findings of trends research in the field of Employer Branding. The results of global research that was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic by Blu Ivy Group suggest that the key factors to employer brand improvement are:
- Nurturing approach to employees and talents during the acquisition process
- Introducing digital platforms for team collaboration and panel communication
- Possibility of flexible working hours and work from home
- Management and leadership training related to Employer Branding by consulting firms
- Introducing healthcare and psychological support for employees
Here are a few more suggestions for maintaining Your employer brand image, which are based on the research that was done by Assert and in relation to the impacts of the pandemic on businesses in Serbia.
- Question and estimate Your clients’ and employees’ needs in a modified context and adjust Your service catalog in accordance with them.
- Contribute to the development of all relevant stakeholders by monitoring market trends and sharing experiences and advice – that is how you will establish their trust and create the impression of expertise and necessary qualification on the market.
- Organise various CSR activities through which you could support local communities in times of crisis.
- Question Your employees’ needs and provide them with adequate psychological and emotional support.
- In case of downsizing, organise career transition programs for those employees who are under the termination procedure. Be honest with them about other opportunities on the market and potential positions which they could find suitable or interesting – both outside or, if the chance arises again, inside Your company. Make sure to refer them to your contacts and other companies, or use public social networks for that. If necessary, use the support of HR experts from consulting firms – they could help Your employees in times of transition by exploring their career preferences, connecting them to companies in search of new talents, and providing training on how to market themselves.
- Organise training for direct supervisors on how to give support to their employees, emotional intelligence and communication skills which could enhance their rapport with the workers.
Managing employer brand in times of crisis is certainly a big undertaking. To overcome this challenge, it is crucial to change our perspective and view Employer Branding as an integral part of everyday business as well aligning it with company values. Take into consideration all the initiatives that can help Your clients, employees and the entire local community overcome the negative impacts of the crisis. By expressing dedication and care to all the relevant stakeholders, we pave the way for establishing long term cooperation, corporate trust, and we create an image of a socially responsible company.
It is the responsibility of our Research Team @Assert to provide a detailed and realistic representation of working conditions on the market to our clients, as well as to successfully map out all the profiles and personnel, both employed and unemployed, across different industries. We strive to direct the market towards ensuring fair and transparent conditions for all employees. Our focus is on creating plans and methodology, as well as efficient internal and external research in accordance with the highest standards of quality and efficiency, and the specific needs of our clients. Additionally, we propose and implement action points that give companies a competitive edge on the job market.